Generation Y / Millennials and The End of the Industrial Age - Where To Next?

James Preston Reply 7:43 AM
Two things first up: Number 1) Please vote for me in the SA Blog Awards! It'll take 1 minute, literally. I'd so appreciate it.
Number 2) Yesterday I had an article published about entrepreneurship based on my new venture "Tens South Africa". The photo used on that article on one of SA's biggest business news websites was slightly embarrassing, and I want you all to know I didn't choose it or send it to them! It is on my Blog, and I have a hunch BizNews searched for me online and found it there. I'm not going to be lame and ask them to take it off. I just thought I'd share that with you. ;)
Now, to this week's post... It comes out of that BizNews article. I had written a number of options for the article, and this was one of the earlier unfinished drafts. I like it so wanted to keep it. So here ya go!

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Entrepreneurship has been the workplace buzzword for the last 15 years. Richard Branson was one of the first people in history to be labeled an “entrepreneur” way back in the 60’s (although the personality-type has been around forever) and he continues to be a figurehead for a generation of Millennials changing the face of the workplace all over the world. They’re changing the face of the workplace, because the 9 to 5 industrial-age cubicle-cut form of work is no-one’s idea of a decent job anymore. Humanity has found its uniqueness, and the leading companies are playing it to their advantage.

This exploration of our uniqueness is the reason for the abrupt halt in industrial-age policies. The world has changed, but I put it to you the exploration of this new way of work has only just begun. I’m one of the earliest millennials, and the amount of people who see the world through the same lens as I do is quite astounding. The frustration of being bound to a desk doing exactly the same work for for 8 hours a day coupled with the ubiquitous rhetoric of following the dreams of your heart are just no match for the corporate machine (unless of course that machine adapts accordingly - ala Google).

But how is it done? How can we practically be emancipated from industrial bondage to following the yellow-brick road? This is where the significance of understanding the word “entrepreneur” cannot be overstated. With it being such a buzzword today, far too many millennials are taking the easy road in hope of running their own business instead of serving another. But an entrepreneur by definition is one who takes financial risk on their own abilities and skills, and will resiliently do all they can to turn those skills into profit. Too many millennials don’t want the pressure of corporate but don’t want to take the financial risk of starting their own venture. That’s not entrepreneurship, that’s stupidity. You can’t have your bread buttered both ways, as the cliche goes.

I’m not knocking millennials. I am a millennial, and can relate to all the characteristics of my generation. But the hard reality is: Not all millennials are entrepreneurs (while many Gen-Xers are). And if you’re not an entrepreneur, you have to eat humble pie somewhere along the line. Whether it be by joining a corporate, lending your skills to those who are entrepreneurs, or learning. (Although learning is not something I would advocate - I’m of the “work-to-your-strengths” school).

I'm just excited about the future, that's all. What will the world look like in 20 years? With the vast majority of Generation Y (Millennials) actually in the workplace? How do we harness billions of people's skills, talents, passions and energy to a fully functioning society without limiting these passions and talents or slipping into socialism?

I certainly don't have the answers. But the questions are a good place to start.

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